Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket Tourism at Ground Zero

Published

 on 

Phuket Tourism at Ground Zero | Thaiger

PHUKET: While the term ‘ground zero’ became the idiom for the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001, the phrase is far older than that, dating at least as far back as the Manhattan Project and the World War II bombing of Hiroshima.

On the heels of Saturday’s tragic events in Bangkok, Thailand’s tourism industry has become the global poster child for what the media is calling an explosion that is expected to hit hotels throughout the country.

After speaking to hotel executives about Phuket, it is evident that for the moment the nation’s capital remains an isolated epicenter of both metrics and opinion.

Kevin Wallace, President of leading Thai hotel chain Centara, says: “Bookings outside Bangkok are holding up very well and we are at 100% in Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya and Hua Hin, and are in fact overbooked in Samui, with no cancellations yet in these destinations.”

In Patong, Wolfgang Meusberger, General Manger of the Holiday Inn, is taking a longer term view, commenting: “So far, cancellations are slightly up versus the usual patterns, about 20% for the upcoming week. We expect more cancellations to come in as today is the first working day after the weekend.”

He continues: “For next week bookings might go up as customers are leaving Bangkok for the Songkran holiday. But the new booking pace has definitely eased and shows a reduced trend for April, May and June.

“Many customer inquiries are being made about safety in Phuket. There have been cancellations from groups who planned to have a joint Bangkok and Phuket schedule.”

He concludes that, “The longer the [protest] situation goes on, the more cancellations will come.”

According to historical market demand, the period of mid-April to the end of June constitutes the deepest downward spike for occupancy in Phuket. May is widely considered the worst trading month of the year, so perhaps it’s fitting that the run-up to May this year comes on the heels of events which will create considerable volatility.

But Pieter van der Hoeven, Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing Asia for Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas, reports that his property has seen “no cancellations at all.” He confirms, however, that, “bookings have tailed off… [but that this] “is somewhat expected on the cusp of the low season.”

One of the most compelling trends during the recent global financial crisis was the strong decline of long haul tourism, which was replaced by short haul regional travel that propelled increasing amounts of traffic.

In Kamala, General Manager Andrew Whitaker of Andara Resort Villas says: “We have had some cancellations from short haul feeder markets, namely Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is a great pity that the travel advisories that have been put out do not clearly state that Bangkok is the only affected area, as life here in Phuket goes on as normal.”

Going forward, the challenges for Phuket’s tourism industry could fill a basket. One of 2009’s compelling storylines was a rebound which carried visitor arrivals back up to the 2007 level of 2.9 million. Airlift was a huge driver, with the reinstatement of many routes canceled after the 2004 Asian tsunami, and new direct flights added into the destination.

If the political situation continues unstable for a sustained period, the likelihood of direct-flight cancellations or reductions from important feeder markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore could set back Phuket’s development cycle. Playing into this critical issue is the recent Thai Airways price hike of 46% on the Bangkok–Phuket route.

Adding to these concerns is the oil market, where prices look set to increase over the US$ 85 a barrel level, bringing increased potential for damage to air travel.

While growing tensions in Bangkok are perceived to be widening the divide on the way forward for Thailand, tourism has been relegated to the uncomfortable position of passenger.

Bob Geldof captured the trauma felt after a shooting spree left countless dead in the song “I don’t like Mondays”. But truth be known, regardless of the events which many in Phuket feel are a world away, the days of the week are sure to follow… and most of us wait in anticipation of what tomorrow will bring.

— Bill Barnett

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand7 hours ago

Cabinet seems to have ignored 4am nightlife proposal

Video9 hours ago

THAILAND NEWS TODAY | Korean woman arrested for 5-million-baht theft, 6-year overstay

Crime9 hours ago

Tuhao’s Chinese gang buys 50 homes in Bangkok luxury village with cash

Sponsored10 hours ago

Krungthong Plaza offers endless choices of well-selected plus-size fashion products

Road deaths9 hours ago

Bus flipped in Tak injuring 44 Burmese workers, killing 3

Thailand9 hours ago

3 men were arrested for stealing Thai Internet connection & World Cup betting in Cambodia

Pattaya9 hours ago

Intoxicated Pattaya woman left uninjured after overturning car

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime10 hours ago

Woman who allegedly scammed victims for over 30 million baht arrested in Pattaya

Bangkok10 hours ago

Bangkok BTS Skytrain fares to increase next year

Thailand10 hours ago

Police put brakes on car rental thief in Bangkok

World10 hours ago

New drug marks major milestone in slowing Alzhemier’s

World Cup11 hours ago

400 to 500 migrant workers in Qatar died due to World Cup, not 6,500

Visa12 hours ago

Thailand advises Indians to obtain visa prior to travelling to avoid long queues

Thailand12 hours ago

Driver furious with Bangkok shopping mall after foreigner accidently causes damage to her car

Politics12 hours ago

Iran promises Thailand it won’t attack Israeli tourists

Crime13 hours ago

Korean woman arrested for 5 million baht theft, 6-year overstay

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending